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Space? What is space? Time? What is time? Everyone prescribes patience to me, but wait-and-see has never been something I've found helpful. I am mostly generally patient because mostly, I have no goals or expectations or wants or needs. But when there's something that I want, when I have something to say, then I can only sit in the gate for so long. Not long at all.

Why should I give you space? Why should I give you time? Will you magically relax into a world of possibility; will your fears fall away and your heart bloom... sometime? Will you transform yourself into a beacon of loving acceptance on some Thursday, the 12 of some month of some year? If I say, "I'm standing here and I need you to acknowledge me," will I interrupt the process and delay your evolution? Will I push you further into some shell? Do you even want to bloom? Perhaps the shell is more appealing. Everything is valid. We all set our own goals for our lives. But still, what should I be patient for?

Maybe you're not afraid, not hiding. Maybe you're just not interested. Maybe you're all calm and secure and "no, thank you, I simply prefer not to wear the blue suit today and please respect my wishes." Except, no. There's no point pretending. Your heart is sitting out on a plate and everyone is staring at it. Of course you don't like it. You're not ready. It hurts. And it hurts to be looking and feel even a little responsible for that hurt. I would protect you and me and him, all of us, from it, if I could. It wouldn't be doing you a favor, shielding you from your own potential, but it would block the unpleasantness for a while.

But my own pain says there's hot iron here in need of striking. No one wants you to suffer. If I assert myself, I can't help but cause you pain because that's what I represent for you right now. But, as they say, pain is inevitable, suffering is optional. So I'm sorry if there's pain, but the suffering is all you. If you'd embrace the pain, the suffering would be transformed and the pain, too.

You know that, right? You know that increasing strength necessitates moving into vulnerability. Muscle strength comes from the willingness to break apart the tissues and let them reconfigure. Emotional strength and spiritual strength are the same. In the end, nothing that can be broken down and rebuilt and broken again, can ever really be broken. Not a person, not a heart, not a relationship. They become invincible. Excuse me -- my idealism is showing. A heart ground to a fine, dusty powder that still wants to take in the world can never be broken -- there is nothing to break. It can love the whole world without suffering.

But we are not such beings. I want to be, someday, but maybe you don't. And there's a difference between constructive and destructive pain. Choice plays a big role. When you have no choice about receiving pain, embracing it is noble. It's brave. When you choose pain for a higher goal, pain is constructive. That's brave, too. When you take pain in the place of someone else or for their benefit, that can be beautiful. When pain is forced upon you by someone you love, embracing it is sometimes just masochistic. It depends. And when you choose pain for the sake of pain, well, that's just silly.

So what am I to you? A source of pain, surely. But large or small? A scratch, some brambles to be skirted? A stabbing dagger, to be feared? Or a symbol of everything that's ever been taken from you and everything that's ever been withheld? Say I'm a lake of acid: something to be carefully avoided, walled away or bridged or even neutralized. But only acid because he finds me so warm and inviting and refreshing. Maybe even acid for you, regardless of his feelings, but you don't know because you won't dip a toe. Why risk it? If we really got to know each other, we might hate each other anyway. Then we would both be happy to stay apart and let him manage us like feuding cats or choose between us... or neither of us.

Or we could be friends, partners, allies, sisters. No interest? No curiosity? Or just too afraid? No matter. The lake comes to you, grotesque and unwanted, like a mixed metaphor, stropping your ankles and oozing all over your feet.

What kind of pain does it cause you, can it cause you? The kind of pain that makes you bigger and better and stronger? Pain that leaves you with something beautiful like the pain of childbirth or a tattoo? Pain that leaves you impaired and deformed like a shattered limb? Pain that dissolves you and breaks you and makes you small? Is it the kind of pain that takes things away from you or pain that gives you things? Or both? Or phantom pain? Or pain like a needle stabbing you that transforms into something completely different when you look at it and realize you've been scratched by a long-lost beloved cat who's made his way back to you.

Wow, that was sappy. I'm not always sappy. And none of this has to be painful. But I believe it is for you, so that's where we start. I acknowledge your pain. I acknowledge my part in your pain. I'm speaking as if this is about me, even though I think you'd rather keep me as nothing and no one, because I need to be important. I'm not the other woman, I'm not competition, I'm not a fling or a sex toy, I'm not some faceless goddess for him to worship in the privacy of his own mind, on his own time. There are women who would take those kinds of roles and run with them. But I'm in your space, even when I'm not there, because that's who I am.

I am not a casual woman with casual needs to fulfill. I suck at casual -- it's one of the reasons I'm poly. I connect deeply or not at all. And I need a future and a home and love and community and family and support. I need status. I need security and acceptance. If I didn't think that he wanted to give me those things, I would fade away. Will you hoard those things, when the sum of 3 or 4 or more is greater than the sum of 2? Will you build a cage around an endless buffet of love and growth and support and only throw sex biscuits through the bars? Will you do that to yourself? To him? and me? You can, of course you can. But will you call him back home, back into the cage, again and again, making him push his way past the toys all strewn around the floor? What's the point of that cage except that someday you might want to lock it? Then what side of the bars will you and he, separately or together, be on? Who wants to live in a cage? Is it worth so much to keep me away?

You know, I defend you, when he has a complaint. Not that you need defending from him or that he has any real problem with you. But when he disapproves of your slut-power books on display or how you interact with his friends, I stand in favor of his accepting you as you are. And, anyway, I like The Golden Girls, too. But, of course, I also have complaints about you. You avoid me. You reject me. You block me from giving him things that would help him while refusing to give those things yourself. And then I also defend you from myself. Because you're just as perfect as anyone else. But I won't be dismissed. I won't be afraid. What do I have to lose? Only the opportunity to be with someone who is incredibly special to me and with the woman he loves, who I maybe could love, too.

What does that mean? I don't know. I can't see the future. But I'm here and I'll be here until I can't stand being here anymore. And if you want a fight, I'll fight with you. I mean, I'm a pacifist, but if it helps, I'll take some hits and deal some, too. If you want a hug, I give good hugs. If you keep trying to ignore me, I'll probably try to resign myself to it for a while and fail because it's not my nature to pretend I don't want what I want or trust someone who doesn't care about me to give in one day and hand me the keys to my own happiness. Then I'll probably start giving him a really hard time about it. And then feel bad and get mad at you again and forgive you again and poke at you some more. Hey. Hey. Hey. Or possibly stand outside your window and yodel like a cat.

Seriously, though, I'm an asset. I'm smart and thoughtful and funny. I have a lot of experience cleaning up messes and putting the world back into order. I can talk, I can shut the hell up. I can listen. I can corroborate, collaborate, and commemorate. I'm not here to take anything away from you. I'm the doorway you walk through to get to a bigger room. I'm a lot like him, only with more estrogen. You could have two. More, not less. I don't like selling myself. I'm worth more than that. But he's worth it to me. And he sees something in you, lots of good things in you. I'd like to see those things. Hey, it might suck. But it sucks now, so what's there to lose? And it also might be epic. Life is short. Shoot for epic. That's what I say.

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